THE family of Alice Daley - who spent her first three months of life in a special care unit - returned to the ward to thank the doctors and staff with a cheque for over £1,500.

Her father Martin, 32, recently completed the 100km Adidas Thunder Run, despite having a broken rib, to raise funds for the unit at Whiston Hospital.

On September 11, 2010 Alice was born to Martin’s wife, Janine, 11 weeks premature and weighing just two pounds seven ounces.

She spent three months in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) and was in an incubator for the first five weeks.

Martin, an ex-commando, said going back to the hospital to hand the cheque over and talking to the staff again brought back the strong emotions they felt when Alice was there as a baby in critical condition.

He said: "The staff were delighted to see Alice, who is now nearly four, all grown up and so switched on. They also met her little sister Lucie, who is almost two. They were so grateful for our donation.

"We were overwhelmed too. They will always be close to our hearts and I'll always be in their debt.

"Seeing the machines again and hearing the beeps... it was nuts to think Alice was once attached to one of them."

Martin, who grew up in Sutton Heath and now lives in Haydock, completed the gruelling 100km challenge within the space of 24 hours - running through the night, despite having broken a rib two weeks earlier while snowboarding at the Chill Factore.

He said: "After the first 30k, I rolled on an ankle which caused me to have knee pain and I must admit, from that point on, it was excruciating.

"We ran through the night and at one point I was throwing up, it was that horrendous.

"By the time I'd finished the 100k, my feet were in a terrible state - blisters, raw ankles, you name it. But I did it!"

And in spite of the pain, Martin, now a tanker driver with Caldo Oils, says he would do it all again and is training for his next challenge.